google analytics

We have a recipe for setting up Google Analytics when we take on a new client. A few simple things can make all the difference.

Like naming your Views so that you can find the right one easily.

Or adding a RAW data view so that you can effectively “backup” your Google Analytics information.

I address these and a few more setup issues in my most recent Marketing Land Column, A Google Analytics Setup Checklist.

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The other lower-case filters are defined as follows:

Lower case campaign

The lower case campaign filter in Google Analytics

The lower case campaign filter in Google Analytics.

Lower case Referrals

The Google Analytics filter to make the referral field lowercase.

The Google Analytics filter to make the referral field lowercase.

Related Marketing Land Columns by Brian Massey

21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks to Skyrocket Conversions

21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks

Keep these proven copywriting hacks in mind to make your copy convert.

  • 43 Pages with Examples
  • Assumptive Phrasing
  • "We" vs. "You"
  • Pattern Interrupts
  • The Power of Three
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The staff was assembled, the stage was set. Representatives from every department plus some of the big brass were sitting around the long conference table.
I was about to present the data that showed how successful my marketing campaigns had been for the past month. This was important, because it had been like pulling teeth to get a more data-driven process in place.
IT had to be cajoled into setting up Google Analytics.
Sales had to be bullied into keeping good account of leads and sales.
Now, with the first full month of data in hand, I was going to point to some steady growth. My pitch was confident as I showed the increase in leads and correlated it with an increase in sales. I was going to be a star.
Until someone spoke up from sales.
“We didn’t get that many leads last month. Most of my sales came from affiliates.”
All eyes turned to me. What I would say next would either raise stature or destroy my credibility.
Was it my programs, or was it my analytics that caused this disconnect?
The right answer would have been, “I personally QA’d our analytics setup. These numbers are right.”
Could you have given that answer?

In my most recent Marketing Land article Is It The Site, Or Is It The Analytics? Debugging Google Analytics, I show you how to be certain that your Google Analytics setup is working as planned.
Whether you setup your own analytics or have your tech team do it, you need to know that the data you’re using is right.

Listen to the Article, Read by the Author


Google keeps messing with us. As soon as we thought we had Panda down, they introduced Penguin. Frankly, we weren’t too excited about the learning curve on that one. Then they threw an invisibility cloak over keywords used in Google searches, which made it even harder to figure out how people were finding us.
And now we’ve got Hummingbird to deal with.
Google Hummingbird
Introduced on September 26, 2013, Hummingbird is Google’s revamped search algorithm designed to increase the organic nature of Google searches, reward websites that deliver useful content and let us search for stuff with phrases we might use when talking to a friend.  Or to a mobile phone. (Where can I get gluten-free pizza around here? Gimme the stats on the final game in the 2002 World Series.)
If your IT guy or gal is adept at second-guessing Google algorithms and tricking Google into finding you, Hummingbird might not be a welcome upgrade.
But if you’ve been posting useful, keyword-rich content on your website, cultivating high quality link-building and participating on social platforms in a thoughtful way, you’re in luck. By complying with basic SEO strategies, you will find that Google is trying to help businesses like yours come out ahead.
[pullquote position=”right”]Both experts and high-growth firms agree that SEO is the most effective online marketing tactic for generating online leads[/pullquote]. And now, Google is enhancing their search capability so that businesses and prospective customers can find each other faster.

The company you keep

In this new, more organic type of search, Google is inserting itself into (and making judgments about) your website’s online relationships.
It used to be that you could pay, trade or beg anyone to link to you, thereby improving your page rank. The more links the better, even if the originating sites were questionable or you had hired a troll to sit in a backroom and post comments (and your link) on a thousand blogs.
Google didn’t like that. With the introduction of “no follow links” and the ability to better identify “spammy” sources, spraying links throughout the Internet not only stopped working, it started costing you. Page rankings got spanked when search engines identified link-backs as originating from unsavory sites, unrelated content or artificially populated social platforms.
Roll forward to 2014. Today, high quality link-building is even more dependent upon good content.  Relevance is key. The bloggers, articles, websites and publications that are linking back to you should somehow relate to the services you provide.  And they should be coming from industry sources you’d be proud to hang out with.
So how do you inspire these like-minded folks to send their followers to you?

Getting your links out there

The first step in developing your high quality link-building strategy is to find out what types of people and online sources would be most appropriate for—and interested in—linking back to you. You may already know who they are, but if you need help, check out Open Site Explorer. This free tool enables you to see who’s linking to your competitors. Most likely, you will want these folks (or people like them) linking to you as well.
Next, create well-crafted content which provides information, tools and thought-leadership that will appeal to the people you want linking back to you.
And finally, raise a ruckus about it.
Make sure that influential bloggers, industry-specific publications, social sites and prospective customers are alerted to and have easy access to your e-books, webcasts, slideshows, blogs and of course, your interactive, easy-to-navigate website.
In short, establish yourself online as a foremost authority in your field.

The voice of authority

By establishing yourself as a “go-to” industry expert, your leadership position will be noted by your peers and prospective customers, and ultimately by search engines that will reward your credibility by boosting your page rank.
Here are three areas to focus on to help you increase your website’s authority:
Write, present and talk online about topics related to your field. Your industry colleagues will hesitate to direct their valued followers to your website just to promote your business. It’s critical that you provide a continuous stream of information and tools that elevate your site to the status of valued industry resource. Develop e-books, articles, webcasts, slideshows and other collateral that provide people with knowledge they might not otherwise have access to. (At Hinge, we often begin our relationships with prospective clients when they read one of our e-books on a plane or in the tub!)
Pitch your content to relevant publications and be sure to include a “resource box” that contains your bio and website link. Target online media outlets that your customers rely on for information.
Start a blog. (And don’t forget the part about actually writing in it—at least once a week.) Make sure each entry is a quick, easy read that provides useful, keyword-rich content. Encourage your readers to share it. Build relationships with other bloggers in your industry by directing them to your blog, inviting them to post and guest-posting on theirs.
Populate select social media channels with links to your cool stuff. When people “like” your content, retweet your tweets and otherwise direct their friends, fans and followers to your site, Google recognizes this as a vote of confidence and favors you in their searches. Although it takes awhile to create a strategic presence on social media platforms, it’s one of the best ways to boost your high quality link-building campaign.
These ideas should help get you started. And don’t forget—relevance is key. Be wary of aggressively seeking link-backs at the risk of compromising the quality of your connections. What search engines are aiming for in 2014 and beyond is to create authentic relationship between those who are seeking and those who have something to offer. Be patient. Like any good relationship, it takes time to build.
Sylvia Montgomery is a Senior Partner at Hinge, a marketing and branding firm for professional services. At Hinge, Sylvia provides strategic counsel to national clients. She is a co-author of Inside the Buyer’s Brain and Online Marketing for Professional Services. You can follow Sylvia on Twitter @BrandStrong.

Marketing Batteries: These are powerful online devices that can actually store attention. Marketing batteries get charged up on the attention that you pay for by running ads, by investing in SEO, by doing press releases, by blogging, by creating webinars.
All you have to do is tap into them after they are charged.
Customer Batteries contain the energy of those who bought from you.
Subscriber Batteries contain then energy of those who have subscribed to your lists.
Then there are Social Batteries, that store the energy of those who have like, followed, connected, plussed or pinned you. These batteries are easy to charge, but hard to get a current out of.
There has always been a gap between reliable Subscriber Batteries and skittish Social Batteries. Until now.
You can now build and charge a Visitor Battery. This is done using a technique called “Remarketing” or “Retargeting.”
[pullquote]Google defines remarketing as “a feature that lets you reach people who have previously visited your site, and show them relevant ads across the web or when they search on Google.”[/pullquote]
Google (and other ad networks) can keep track of those who have visited your site, but didn’t buy, subscribe, or like you. When a visitor comes to your site, a cookie is set in their browser. Then Google keeps a list of these visitors, and watches for that cookie when someone comes to another site. When Google sees that a person has been to your site, they can run one of your ads.
It works, and retargeted ads perform quite well compared to regular text and banner ads.
Not everyone who comes to your site is qualified to buy your product or service. Some came there on accident. Others were looking for something else.
Google smart lists seeks to identify those visitors who are more likely to be actually interested in your product.
Last week, the tech savvy site announced the launch of a new type of remarketing list in Google Analytics called Smart Lists.  Simply stated, Smart Lists predict which users are most likely to convert during a later visit.

Screen Shot Smart List

Screenshot of Google Smart List Feature         

These are built using machine learning across websites that have opted to share conversion data, and make use of a plethora of signals, including:


    • visit duration

    • page depth

    • location

    • device

    • referrer

    • browser

Based on their on-site actions, Analytics is able to regulate your remarketing campaigns to align with each user’s value, according to the specific company.  Now when creating a new remarketing list, you’ll have the option to have Analytics manage your list for you – automatically.
According to Google, “for best results, make sure your Google Analytics goals and transactions are being imported into AdWords, then combine your Smart List with Conversion Optimizer

Remarketing Newbies

Smart List is a great way to get started with solid performance results.  As you get comfortable with remarketing, you can modify your ads and apply a variety of remarketing best practices.

Remarketing Connoisseurs

You are most likely employing a sophisticated list strategy already. Google is aware of this and  gearing up to extend this signal directly for your current lists as an optimization signal used in AdWords bidding.
According to Google, they will be continuing to iterate on these models in order to help users better understand and act on their data. They are also working on surfacing these signals elsewhere in your reports and in the product so you can dive into what factors help predict whether a user will likely convert.
We have a new kind of Marketing Battery: The Visitor Battery. Simplify the decision making process of creating remarketing lists with “Smart Lists with Google Analytics”. For more information on Remarketing with Google Analytics, visit here.

This is a guest post by Susan Lahey of Fishpond Content.

Surprise, baby

Susan Lahey got a surprise when she saw how Google interpreted her About Page. Photo by mokra

Anybody who’s installed Google Analytics on his website can tout all the cool insights it provides: Who visited your site and how they wound up there; which pages they lingered on and which ones send them packing. It’s almost voyeuristic. Every morning with my coffee I troll my email, social media sites, and my Google Analytics religiously.

But yesterday I discovered another really crucial aspect of Google Analytics: It can tell you if net surfers think you’re a porn site.

It started like this: You know how you’re supposed to make your personality really clear in your content; how it’s important to brand yourself thoroughly, differentiate yourself and use strong language?

In the spirit of thorough branding, I wrote on my About page that, because I was trained as a journalist, I am really anal about deadlines, research, accuracy and making sure the content is sexy enough to land on the front page.

Potent language, right? It says I’m a professional and I write content people are almost irresistibly drawn to.

Then, I was doing my daily Google Analytics check to see where my content was performing well and where it could be strengthened, I clicked the link that shows what keywords people were using to find my site.

Guess which ones? Anal and sexy, and a few other, similar combinations.

Not exactly the branding message I was aiming for. Not really targeting the customer stream I was hoping for either. I’m sure the porn surfers were even more disappointed than I was.

So I rewrote my About page. But because I abhor boring content, I refused to make it milquetoast just to avoid a similar incident. Wonder what they’ll do with the word “badass?”

Editor’s Note: I’ll watch this page to see if I start getting the “wrong kind” of traffic.

Photo by mokra

What Bouncy Bob, Lost Lucy, Methodical Mary and One-hit Juan will tell you about your business.

“It’s people!” Detective Thorn declared in the 70’s apocalypse flick Soylent Green.
The same can be said about analytics.
In the conversion lab, website analytics is a clinical tool, sterile in its collection of data on our visitors and their behaviors. It is capable of providing rafts of data and reams of reports over hundreds of metrics. And all of this is of little help to us in making business decisions.
I’ve given my analytics a more human face, and I think it will work for you as well.
In I use two metrics and two helpful Google Analytics features to capture the behavior of four characters that visit our sites.

Bouncy Bob will spend below average time on the site and will visit few pages during his visit.
Like Bob, Lost Lucy will spend little time on the site, but will hit a number of pages higher than the site’s page-per-visit average. It’s like she is lost and trying to find something relevant.
One-hit Juan spends a great deal of time on the site, but visits few pages. He lingers on some content before moving on.
Finally, Methodical Mary spends a great deal of time and visits many pages. This is typically considered a sign of high engagement.

When I apply these personalities to The Conversion Scientist blog, I find that:

  • Like most sites, Methodical Mary will drive the highest subscription rate. She’s engaged, staying for a long time and seeing lots of pages. She is also seeing my offers to subscribe multiple times.
  • Lost Lucy’s are, surprisingly, my second best visitor. She doesn’t  convert at nearly the rate that Mary does, but perhaps she likes what she sees and wants to be reminded to come back when she has more time.
  • I would expect Bouncy Bob to have the worst conversion rate, but he beats Juan.
  • Juan visits an average of one page per visit, but stays for an average of more than ten minutes. What’s going on here? I suspected that he was watching one of the many videos I post on the site. But when I look at the pages that Juan frequents, I find something different: they all have links to other sites that open in a new window. The time-on-site clock is ticking while Juan checks out another site!

Juan shows us one of the pitfalls of links to other sites. If you open links to other sites in a new window, it skews your analytics reporting, and doesn’t seem to really help visitors come back to your site.
What can you learn from the people that you meet in your analytics?

It’s people! Analytics is people!

I work closely with the folks at Aviso Communications, especially Rose Holston. Her job is to get my recommendations implemented within our client’s organizations. Believe it or not, it is hard to get organizations to do the things that will increase their leads and sales, even the most progressive ones.
If you are the conversion champion within your organization, then you know what I’m talking about.
I’ve asked Rose to help us understand how she goes about getting the attention, support and resources she needs to help a team like yours get meaningful changes implemented. In The Agile Marketer’s Story, the second of three parts, she tells us how best to manage internal communications.
1. Building a Communications Toolkit
2. Building Evidence Through Empirical Observation
3. Telling the Story
I look forward to our next installment and the “Book of Swagger.”
Read the full article on ClickZ
Brian Massey is the Conversion Scientist, teaching businesses how to convert more of their Web visitors into leads and sales. Let Brian take a look at your site.